If you're able to tune in to its frequency, The Guest could well be the most fun film you'll see for a while.
If you saw The Guest during its theatrical run, then well done; you saw a cult classic before it was cool. Only about five people got to see the film in cinemas, and it sure is a shame to see such an entertaining film go almost completely under the radar. Seemingly purpose built for fans of the John Carpenter cinema of the 1970s and 80s, The Guest homages the genre films of the past in such a precise and well observed way. Paying close attention to the little things, every single box is ticked: synth music, a thin layer of mist that conceals the floor during the climax, and blood squibs – no CGI!
Merging everything from The Terminator to The Stepfather (with a sprinkle of Halloween), The Guest is the cult movie every nerd dreams of. Of course a cult movie needs a cult character to really tie it together and Dan Steven surely gets on to the task. His character David is possibly the best original creation of the year. Somehow simultaneously charming, polite, threatening and impossibly cool, he is a gripping character who could very easily become an icon in no time at all.
Still the film wont be to everyone’s taste, it requires a very specific audience. One that is aware of what it is trying to do. One that is aware of its reference points and inspirations. One that will appreciate the homages. It requires an audience that will get its offbeat humour and will recognize that they are allowed to laugh. Nonetheless if you’re open to it, The Guest is one of 2014’s best films. Perfectly paced, beautifully shot, with a tight script and wonderful performances, this is retro-style escapism in the best kind of way. Also, to reiterate, the soundtrack is fantastic.
On the disc itself, special features are sparse; a trailer and a commentary, that’s pretty much it except for some perfectly adequate deleted scenes. They are worth a watch to listen to Adam Wingard explain how to cut flab without really cutting anything at all.
The Guest (2014), directed by Adam Wingard, is distributed on DVD and Blu-Ray by Icon Film Distribution, Certificate 15.